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4 out of 10 on the road – lacking in internet somewhat

Submitted by on July 1, 2009 – 12:52 amNo Comment

roadtrip2Well my travel journals have taken an unexpected turn. I was confident that even in the darkest recesses of Wales, I could find a broadband connection to keep the site updated. I had hoped at least to provide a few film reviews along the way. Sadly I underestimated the amount of cinemas and wireless access areas in this fine country (which amounts to none – that I’ve witnessed) and have had to keep notes the old fashioned way. During this period I have noticed several things: Firstly my laptop’s battery lasts about 20 minutes (if I’m lucky); secondly that my writing is not very legible (even to me) and thirdly: that I despise horses and tractors with a passion reserved for modern “spoof “ films. Nevertheless, I am now in the presence of a laptop with a full battery and am likely to update the site more often from here on.

My journey began in a place that I can’t pronounce (Abergele). I kept calling it Abigail and Abigeel. It seems that the locals are as helpful as my uncle who has had one too many G & T’s whilst trying to direct a tourist to his local newsagent as I was advised to keep to main roads through Wales and to avoid all those “confusing B-roads”.

The camper is somewhat less than I had imagined. It is a lovely French model which claims to be a 4 berth. I can assure you that unless you are related to R2D2 it is far from being a 4 berth. The “double” bed is only a double for people no taller than 5 foot. The pop-up roof houses one stretcher-style bed instead of 2. So as it stands, I am sleeping diagonally across the supposed double bed with only a child able to sleep in the roof. Because I have no inclinations to share my space with children this won’t be an issue. Although my legs are feeling very much like the toes of an eighties winkle-pick wearing punk at the moment, I am confident that I shall get used to the extreme foetal position which is needed to fit in the “double bed”.

When all is said and done though, as my first camping location was in the depths of Snowdonia (mountainous area) and I woke to the sun rising above the vast green land and witnessed country living at its finest, my aching legs, my crooked neck and my irritation at the French was sedated. I love it here.
The very next day saw my journey take a turn for the unexpected. I had been advised by an Abergelian to keep to the main roads as I would get completely lost if not. It was unlike me to heed this bumpkin’s advice and it was because of this, my journey through North Wales had lasted approximately ninety minutes. This was not the point! I had hoped for a leisurely drive through this fascinating area, meeting different locals along the way. It was not until I had recognised a town name that I knew (being in mid Wales; nearly at the border) and discovered I had powered straight through North Wales. I use the term “powered” loosely as the vehicle is supplied with a measly 1600cc engine and going up your average 1 in 4 (25%) hill is more like a chugging sensation. Welshpool was my location and I was only 40 minutes from a wedding (and uncle) I could crash. I decided a wedding was the best way to sate my annoyance of main roads.

So I was now in familiar territory, driving around roads I have known from old. Unfortunately, when coming across an obstacle (an overturned boy-racers car in the middle of the road) and being unsure of an alternative route I found myself taking a trip into the unknown. Being at only 10 miles from my intended destination, I chose to turn around and hope for the best. Two hours later, driving along single lane tracks with horses and tractors constantly expecting me to park my camper in a hedge so they can pass, I had found a suitable route. I had considered sending a bill to the aforementioned boy-racer for wasting my time and money but thought that he would need all the money to buy another stupidly sized spoiler for his next Vauxhall Nova!

Arriving at one of my uncle’s house and nearly flattening a few chickens I found that he wasn’t in. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the experience of driving hundreds of miles to see someone, to find out that they aren’t in, but it is tedium squared. Thankfully I also had another uncle in the area and decided to head on over to see him (and his family).

Before doing so a pub which claimed to be the “Hundred mph House” beckoned me and I entered for a little refreshment. Now bear in mind that pubs in these kindS of locations are usually buzzing with locals and the usual scenario is much like walking into a saloon (in cowboy films) where everyone turns around to stare. This local pub was different in that I was the first (and seemingly only) customer of the day. I was leapt upon by the landlady whose temporary hope that she’d earn her wages with my purchases were dashed the second I ordered “a pint of coke”. Nevertheless she provided me with a fairly suitable watery beverage (as expected) and insisted on spouting on about how all the locals hate her pub and she can’t think as to why. Two hours later and I had discovered the reason. She had kept up this verbal tirade at the locals and I for one was glad to be out of there (promising never to return).

Arriving at my other uncle’s house who is best known to the family as being “hyper”, I was welcomed and allowed to come in for a cup of tea. In fact it wasn’t “tea” as the classic British beverage in this house was replaced with a non-caffeine alternative which I can’t spell but is surprisingly more-ish after your first cups.

At this point, news of my arrival (and subsequent wedding crash) had reached the bride’s mother and after finding out an annoying relative had invited himself along to the wedding (without anything smart to wear) great worry was developing.

To follow: a gate-crashed wedding and why it’s better than being invited.

Image Credit: Ezakiel

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